I'm facing the ultimate 'trigger'

At my lowest points in this quit I used to think of situations that might crop up which would give me such a good excuse to smoke that nobody would think the worse of me for it. A bereavement seemed like the ultimate one. Not that I wished for it, but I can't deny I thought 'well that would be it, I'd smoke'.

Well, a few hours ago I found out that my brother died suddenly today, from a heart attack. My lovely, laughing, musical, comical, hard working (too hard working) big brother David, just 54, not overweight and never smoked. Just dropped dead in his office at the hospital where he is a nurse manager.

Tomorrow I'm off to see my mum, who is in shreds, and my other brother and sisters. We are all shocked and reeling as I'm sure you can imagine. An upsetting and stressful day lies ahead.

And the last thing, the very last thing that I would want to do now is smoke a cigarette. Risk my life, when life is so fragile? I'd have to be f***ing insane. I cannot think of a single way in which it would help me.

It's not much of an upside, needless to say. But it's good to know that I am past smoking to the extent that even this won't shake me.

If you pray, please offer one up for my brother and his wife, his two teenage daughters, and all of my family tonight.

Helen x

36 Replies

  • Oh Helen, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I can imagine the shock and distress that you are all experiencing at the moment. And yes, you are in for a number of very sad and stressful days ahead.

    I have had similar conversations with myself about those "justifiable" triggers - to the point of really feeling guilty for even thinking of what those circumstances might be. But you are at a point where you are stronger than that. I suspect that once you are with your family, smoking will be the last thing on your mind.

    I wish that there was more we could do for you. You have been so wise and counselled so many of us through difficult times. Just know that we are all thinking of you.

  • Helen I'm so sorry to read your sad news.

    I wish I could offer words of comfort but I know there are none sufficient. I can as you asked pray for your family and hope that you find comfort with each other during the coming days.

    You will need to be strong now in lots of ways hunny, you can do it, trust in yourself.

    Sending you my thoughts and prayers.

    Pip x

  • Hi Helen

    I am truly sorry to learn of your families loss, the best way to remember someone is to do it with a smile on your face. You will not be able to do it soon but at least try and this will make the soul of the one who has gone happy. You are quite right though...smoking will be of no help what so ever, stay strong.


  • Thankyou, both. Your replies are really appreciated.

    David is the second of my brothers to die well before his time from a sudden heart attack - my eldest brother, Paul, was just 45. Just one brother left now, he'd better bloody look after himself!

    Life really does have a way of smacking you in the face sometimes, doesn't it?

    H x

  • helen so sorry to hear your news, pip and the others advice sounds good, to trust in yourself, you have always been a strength for others here, you will be strong enough now, no need to smoke. you will only fall if you think you will fall. i dont pray, but i will be thinking of you, x

  • Oh Helen I am so sorry to hear about your brother, I lost my brother a year last January from a massive heart attack and he was only 45 he smoked and was over weight and I loved him so much, it would have been his birthday yesterday and my mum is so devastated.

    This was one of my incentives to stop smoking, I am so glad you haven't smoked, keep going.

    Take care.


  • Helen, how terrible that this happened to you and your family, my thoughts are with you and my sincere condolences, it's so terribly hard to lose a loved one. I'm glad smoking is the last thing on your mind, it would make the situation so much more difficult were you tempted. Take good care of yourself and your family. bella xx

  • Very sorry Helen. What a kick in the teeth for all your family. Like you say, that would be a good excuse to smoke again, you wouldn't think much of yourself later on though. You'll get through it, just show the same determination you've used during your quit. David

  • Helen. Just a quick message to send my sympathies. My dad dropped dead at 56 and I know how devastating sudden death is. You must be torn apart and to have it happen not once but twice is a frightening thought. My love to you and your family. Also, maybe you should get your hearts checked too. Well done for not smoking, sadly it wouldn't bring him back. Love fi x x

  • My deepest sympathies to you and your family on this sad loss. Remember the good times. You're in my thoughts and prayers.


  • Hi Helen,

    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts go out to your and your family.


  • My deepest sympathies to you and your family, 54 is no age at all.

  • Helen

    I as so sorry to read this, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family at this terrible time.


  • Helen,

    I'm, like all other members here, saddened to hear your news....just too fekin' early for both of your brothers. Precious lights that have gone out...but each time you light candles with your shared memories they will shine brightly in your heart.

    Kind regards,

    Cav x

  • Such tragic losses. My thoughts are with you and your family as you find comfort and strength together.

    Warmest Regards,

    Pol x

  • hi helen

    so sorry to hear your terrible news my thoughts are with you and your family

  • Hi Helen,

    Sorry to hear about your tragic loss, my thoughts are with you and your family.


    Jen x

  • Sorry for your loss Helen, thinking of you and your family x

  • Am very sorry for your loss Helen. I'm struggling with quitting smoking whilst grieving. My Dad died of a heart attack on 22nd August & things still feel unreal & a bit raw.

    I think coping with the loss of loved one is one of the most difficult things all of us face in life, and like other people in the same situation I'm just taking one day at a time and trying to keep busy

    I've found bereavement intensifies normal feelings of stress and feeling overwhelmed, feelings which normally cause me to reach for the ciggies. I'm on patches & occasionally use the electronic cigarette when I need a boost, but I'm determined not to start smoking again.

    It's a traumatic time your going through, and if you do have a weak moment don't beat yourself up about it.


  • Hels

    Terrible news, my sincere condolences to the family.

    The only thing worse in life than burying your parents must be burying your children so your Mum needs total support right now, and whilst this is clearly a distressing time please think twice before reaching for the weed, you've come so far, be strong.

    I hope you and those around you find the strength to get through this.

    Good luck

  • Helen

    My sincere sympathy to you and your extended family. Losing two brothers like this must be devasting.

    Please take note of FIONACOX's comment about getting your own health checked. Contact me when you get back to your normal life as I have some personal history, I would like to share with you, that may be helpful.

    Stay strong....:(

  • Thankyou everybody. I'm really so touched by all the responses.

    Spent the day with my remaining siblings and my mum today, we are all in a state of stunned suspension. David lived in Australia, which is making it difficult for us to attend the funeral, but I think we all will make it - my mum and sister between them are paying my fare, as there's no way I could afford it.

    I didn't even consider smoking today. I don't want to, at all. On the contrary, the thought of choosing to poison myself and risk my life when life is so precious... well, it just makes me feel sick, to be honest. I'm relieved that the situation hasn't made me tempted.

    Thankyou again for all your kind thoughts. I'm so grateful for this forum.

    H x

  • So sorry Helen to hear the sad news.

    Please accept my sincere condolences.


  • oh helen im so very sorry for your loss! you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    i think we have all gone through the "when this happens i will smoke"

    you know better than this by now and i know you will not smoke!

    you have always been there for all of us so we are here for you as well during this difficult time! take care..

  • Hi Helen

    Just read this post and i too wanted to say how sorry i am for your and your families loss. My thoughts and sympathies go out to all of you esp your brothers wife and daughters.

    Well done for staying strong hun even under such circumstances. If i prayed i would say one for all of you.

    God bless hun xx

  • thanks to all for the kind thoughts and responses. Just checking in from my mobile, at my mums with the rest of the fam who couldn't travel to aus. The funeral is in a few hours. Turns out it wasn't his heart but an inoperable brain tumor that did for david. Really a blessing that he went so suddenly as the alternatives could have been so much worse. Still unutterably sad for us though. All this has made me realise that life is too valuable to be risked for the sake of a cigarette, and i really believe i will never smoke again. Before all this i had my doubts, but if i can see this through without smoking then i don't know what else could do it. Thanks again for your messages. It really means a lot. Helen x

  • So sorry to hear your news. Look after yourself and your family in the days and months to come, I'm sure our thoughts are with you. Take care.


  • Hi Helen. my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

    Mash x

  • Just to say I'm sorry for your terrible loss, your family are in my thoughts and prayers x

  • I am so sorry for your loss... a major trigger indeed.

    my dad died from a heart attack aged 45, it's such a shock at first. sorry I missed this until now, I hope the first couple of weeks since his death have been tolerable... thinking of you xxx

  • Dear Helen - this is my first post - I've been lurking on the site for a week or so, trying to decide whether it is too early yet to 'join in' (I will be quitting on 6 Nov), but just wanted to let you know that your posts have stood out for me and been a source of real inspiration.

    I was so sorry to read your news. This is no 'pebble' on the path, but a huge great boulder. For those of us who have not yet even begun to tackle this rocky road and who are terrified about the journey ahead, it is good to hear that it CAN be negotiated, albeit one (sometimes very painful) step at a time.

    With thanks and sympathy


  • Thankyou everyone. I can't tell you how much the messages have meant.

    I didn't go to Aus in the end. Commitments here meant I'd have to fly out, attend the funeral and fly back the next day which seemed a ludicrous thing to do and a huge expense to boot. So I stayed with my mum instead.

    It sounds like David's funeral was a hell of a send off. Five hundred in attendance, another 100 tried to get leave but couldn't or the wards would have been empty! - they had to have screens outside the chapel for those who couldn't fit inside. David would have been astonished and bashful and deeply touched, I know. I can't wait for his memorial service in London on the 12th. I'll feel better after that I think.

    @Sue... thanks so much for your message. Don't be scared about the quit. Take the first step on the path and keep taking one step at a time, and the road will become easier and easier. And there are lots of others travelling with you who can be the most amazing source of support when it gets tough. I think my experience here is solid proof of that!

    Anyway. I'm tired, I feel sad, I have too much on my plate at the moment but I have a huge amount to be thankful for and a life worth cherishing. And it's a nice, non stinky, tobacco free one too. :)



  • Hi Helsbelles,

    As a newbie quitter, I have just come across your touching thread... and felt that I could not move on without sending you a reply.

    Although I don't know you I just wanted to offer my sincere condolences to both you and your family at this awful time.

    It is testament to your brother’s popularity that 500+ people turned up to pay their respects, your family must be very proud.

    And for you to resist the temptation to smoke under such extreme circumstances is truly inspiring to us all. Not sure I would be so strong…

    I’m also confident that your brother would also be very proud of your continued resilience !

    Stay strong


  • Huge thanks for your words of encouragement, Helen. For you to dig deep enough to find the strength to support others at a time when you are both tired and sad is - well - rather humbling, if I am honest.

    Thinking of you, and in your days ahead.


  • I'm sorry for your sad loss :(

  • Helen, I have just read all the posts about your brother. They had me in tears!

    You have to be one of the bravest and most inspirational person I know.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I am so pleased your brother had a such a fantastic send-off - I hope that helps ease the pain a bit.

    Keep strong and keep being brave - like all things, this time too will pass.



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